CPaaS (communications platform as a service) is cloud software that helps enterprises add real-time communication features to their existing systems.
Businesses can deploy applications without the need to develop the backend infrastructure. They only need to manage the data while the provider handles storage, servers, hardware, and other technical aspects of the solution. Communications platforms enable the customization of communication stacks. Rather than buying a solution that comes with predefined functions, users can integrate their preferred communication channels with their existing tools.
How Does It Work?
CPaaS technology integrates messaging features into existing software by using a communication application programming interface (API). The API serves as a software intermediary that translates between two endpoints, allowing them to interact with each other.
Using CPaaS software may require the experience of developers who understand the technical aspects of developing apps that make use of APIs. It’s also crucial to have devices or software that are compatible with API endpoints. Many businesses use an in-house IT department to handle these aspects, while others prefer outsourcing the process to systems integrators.
CPaaS Vs. UCaaS
Although both CPaaS and UCaaS are cloud-based and provide feature-rich communication stacks, they are not the same. The differences lie in the way they deliver business messaging solutions. A CPaaS platform utilizes communication APIs to select and develop necessary features. UCaaS (unified communications as a service) combines communication services into one ready-to-go platform.
Integrating UCaaS into an application is not possible like it is with the CPaaS model. Instead, businesses use it in conjunction with their existing applications. While UCaaS is suitable for companies that prefer a more straightforward platform, it's not as efficient and flexible as CPaaS.
What Does a Communication Platform Do?
By building SMS communication into software, businesses can deliver alerts, reminders, and other notifications from their company phone number. They can also set up two-way messaging to make it possible for customers to respond. Using an SMS API or an SMS platform enables automation, group texting, checking the delivery status of messages, and more.
Outbound Voice Calling
Sales and marketing teams can incorporate outbound calls into their cloud-based communications stack through voice APIs. This makes it possible to scale operations up or down as needed. Moreover, using voice APIs for outbound calls enhances adaptability to shifting environments and facilitates adjusting call capacity.
Inbound Call Routing
With the help of webhooks, routing inbound calls can be an easy process. An incoming call triggers a webhook, causing the system to carry out a set of actions to process the call. These involve routing the call to a certain agent, making it easy to streamline and customize your call-handling methods.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking is how IP-based communications infrastructures get connectivity. The flexibility of on-demand SIP trunking gives businesses the ability to improve or reduce their call capacity. Depending on the communications service provider you choose, you’ll get different features and capabilities with SIP trunking.
Social Media Messaging
Social media and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Instagram are excellent for driving customer engagement. They are useful for creating rich communication experiences. WhatsApp, for example, can consolidate various CPaaS functionalities. These include sending and receiving multimedia files, sharing locations, and much more.
Multimedia and Video Calling
Besides supporting automation and other functions, SMS APIs also enable sending and receiving videos, images, and other media. Certain platform providers don’t provide MMS as part of their features. Others offer various options for international phone numbers, MMS, file sizes, conversions, and media storage.
Phone Number Masking
Number masking allows for connecting two parties, like a customer and a support agent, without exposing their phone numbers. It is an effective way of safeguarding customers’ identities, protecting sensitive information, and guaranteeing the safety and privacy of everyone involved. This way, only the platform gets access to the call participants’ numbers.
WebRTC refers to an open framework that uses APIs to facilitate real-time communications (RTC) in mobile apps and web browsers. Certain communication platforms feature WebRTC solutions that businesses can use to integrate voice and video messaging into their setups. This allows them to include features like recording, conferencing, call queues, and more.
Benefits of CPaaS
Inexpensive and Cost-Efficient
As cloud-based communications solutions, CPaaS software can help save a great deal of money down the line. Businesses using the software don’t need to spend resources on developing and maintaining infrastructure. They’ll only pay for the services they use or a subscription fee, depending on the pricing model the cloud-based platform offers.
With measures like encryption, two-factor authentication, and instant fraud alerts, a communication platform can provide an extra layer of security. This enhanced level of security helps companies reduce risks effectively, safeguard sensitive data, and foster a sense of trust among customers.
Ideal for Customer Service
Communication platforms enable real-time communication between agents and customers without the need to leave the application or contact various numbers. This makes it a valuable asset for establishing a strong customer base. Clients can get answers as quickly and efficiently as possible, while support teams resolve issues instantly.
Customizable and Integratable
The customizable nature of communication platforms suits the unique needs of a business. Developers can easily tweak the API to fit their budget and strategy without having to subscribe to additional, potentially useless features. And since the software uses an API, a company can easily integrate it without compromising the integrity of the existing application.
Besides being customizable and easy to integrate, CPaaS solutions also offer full scalability. For example, if a business plans on adding a voice channel later, it can do so with no hassle. It can also remove an obsolete function without a problem. This flexibility makes it possible for companies to scale their communications to meet the changing needs of their audience and industry.
Easy to Implement
By using APIs, businesses can quickly build and implement real-time communication channels like voice, video, and messaging. They can deploy these features into mobile, web-based, as well as enterprise applications. By not having to own and manage hardware, development teams can set up a communication platform in just a few days.
Common Use Cases of Communication Platforms
Communication platforms can be an indispensable marketing tool, providing opportunities to interact with customers at various touchpoints. APIs can help generate leads through promotional messages, retain customers with loyalty programs, and minimize cart abandonment by sending automated reminders.
Customers using an online channel like Instagram Direct Messenger shouldn't have to repeat themselves through email or phone calls. Communication platforms come in handy for creating a seamless customer experience. They do so by retaining customer information from one channel to another and solving issues faster as a result.
Communication platforms can be useful for protecting sensitive information against fraud, breaches, and other security risks. In industries where customer data safety is especially crucial, SMS APIs help set up security measures. Examples include flash calls, two-factor authentication, one-time password verification, and instant fraud alerts.
Other than customer-oriented messaging, CPaaS can enhance internal communications. Businesses can keep employees in the loop by delivering company-wide SMS alerts and reminders. These business messaging platforms can also prove vital for notifying employees about emergency situations like gas leaks or extreme weather.
Appointment and Order Confirmations
Through communication services, companies can send automated messages like appointment reminders, order confirmations, and delivery tracking updates. This kind of messaging can reduce no-shows, enhance customer satisfaction, and eliminate the need to deliver the notifications manually.
Banks, insurance companies, healthcare providers, and others use communication platforms for private conversions and sharing sensitive information with their customers. Insurance policy renewals, credit card delivery messages, and other private information should always be secure. Messaging providers offer that security.
Another use case for communication software involves voice calls and messaging. Customers can easily get in touch with brands when they want to visit the showroom or inquire about a product. Scalable voice communication is common among travel agencies, financial institutions, and other businesses where customers can benefit from prompt assistance.
Businesses make use of communication services to set up chatbots and automated customer service tools. This creates a self-service approach for customers to get the assistance they need. Chatbots respond to questions using conversational AI (artificial intelligence). Industries that handle customer inquiries on a daily basis can use automation via chatbots, Viber Business, WhatsApp Business, and other channels.
Types of Communication Platform Solutions
Ready-to-use platforms are pre-configured services that offer communication features for specific use cases or industries. While this type is not as flexible as the other options, it’s the most cost-effective one. It provides quick and convenient implementation, requiring minimal configuration.
The modular option is highly flexible, helping businesses benefit from specific APIs and services necessary to provide the best user experience. The provider handles everything on the backend, while the enterprise gets granular control over the front-facing components.
Co-created solutions involve collaborative efforts between the provider and the business. This allows the platform to meet the precise needs of the company in terms of both security and communication. This approach offers continuous collaboration and tailored features, making it ideal for businesses that need an entirely comprehensive solution.
Communication Platform Alternatives
As an alternative to CPaaS software, CCaaS (call center as a service) platforms focus on customer interaction and support. They offer features similar to those of communication platforms, like voice calls and messaging. But the main priority is to handle inquiries as effectively and efficiently as possible. These platforms facilitate scaling without the need to hire an in-house support team or spend money on infrastructure.
Virtual Team Workspaces
Virtual team workspaces are collaboration hubs designed with remote or distributed teams in mind. They offer tools that enable efficient team communication, cooperation, file sharing, and project management.
To protect sensitive data, these platforms feature a variety of security features. These include access permissions, user authentication controls, and encryption for files and messages. Virtual workspaces play a key role in maintaining smooth cooperation among team members, customers, and partners.
Unmetered SIP Trunks
Unmetered SIP trunking is a cost-effective way to carry out voice communications. This approach provides seamless voice calling and messaging to ensure reliable connections for companies and organizations. Businesses can benefit from VoIP to manage efficient voice channels that are crucial for smooth conversations with customers and other contacts.
As mentioned previously, a UCaaS platform serves as a comprehensive suite of communication tools like text, voice, and video. This option presents a user-friendly way of carrying out seamless communications with both customers and employees. UCaaS technology is essential for companies looking for efficient and reliable channels to accommodate their daily operations.